-- The Los Angeles Angels washed the champagne from their hair and flew all night to arrive at the American League Championship Series only to discover their best pitcher won't be able to play. So a team that is playing on no rest, with a shaken starting rotation, must do without Bartolo Colon, whose right shoulder is sore enough that he was left off the roster.

"You have to know Bartolo, he's a horse," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "This guy doesn't complain about anything. When he says something is bothering him, you know it's significant."

The shoulder forced him out of the second inning of his start in Monday's Game 5 of the division series, though team doctors seem unsure what is wrong.

He may be hurt worse than the team originally thought, making his return for the World Series, should the Angels advance, in doubt.

Before Game 1, Colon brushed past reporters who asked how he was feeling, saying only, "Not good." He is scheduled to have an MRI exam Wednesday.

Washburn, Flying Solo

Further complicating matters for the Angels is the condition of pitcher Jarrod Washburn, who missed a Game 4 start in the division series because he appears to have strep throat. The team quarantined him on Monday, making him fly commercially from New York to California so he would not infect his teammates -- the general public was a different matter, however.

Washburn said yesterday he is fine and ready to pitch Game 2.

"I haven't picked up a ball in four or five days," Washburn said. "I'm still a little tired and weak but I'll be ready to go."

Selig on Nats

Commissioner Bud Selig said again last night that there has been progress on picking a new Nationals owner, but added that the postseason has slowed the process.

"I know it's taking a long time," he said. "No one is more sensitive to this than I am."

He said he takes home a book on each of the eight ownership proposals and reads it before going to bed.

"I'm an old history major. I think I've memorized every name of every group and all the numbers," he said. "You should test me someday."

When asked if he thought an owner could be chosen by the end of the World Series, he threw up his hands and said, "I'm not making any more predictions," before adding "soon."

Meantime, White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, who is representing Major League Baseball in its negotiations with the D.C. Council over a lease for the planned $535 million stadium project that will be home to the Nationals, said the sale of the team is being held up by the city.

"They want certain things in the lease, certain things which are not worth mentioning publicly," he said. "That's what's holding it up. But it will happen, sooner or later."